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Spotlight on Sentinel’s first franchise

When Sentinel made the decision to franchise the company in 2015, Barney Culloty became the company’s first regional managing director. Two years later, he’s loving his new challenge.

Barney Culloty became Sentinel’s first franchise owner in 2015 when he took charge of the Auckland Central, East and South branch. He has 37 years’ experience in the building industry and has never been happier.

Barney is a builder who believes in honesty, integrity and ethics. After working for Fletcher Construction in Auckland for 20 years he was looking for a new challenge, but it had to be with the right company.

“I’ve been in construction my whole life with a mix of residential and commercial jobs. When I made it known I was looking for a change in 2014 I had a number of approaches, but nothing quite fit,” recalls Barney.

“I have a high set of values and ethics and when I was approached by someone at Sentinel Homes I was taken aback by their integrity and honesty. That’s what sold it for me. I took the plunge in April 2015 as their first franchisee.

A measure of quality

Barney and his team tend to jobs in central, south and east Auckland. From Mount Roskill to the CBD around to the east coast as far as Miranda and across the Hunua ranges to Papakura.

“I believe in the Sentinel brand and how it’s grown and continues to grow. People are genuine and there’s a real sense of achievement there. I want clients to feel they’ve made the right decision by producing something I’m proud to stand behind.

“As an example, on one of our builds I took the cladding off a home because I wasn’t happy with the standard. That came at quite a cost to us, but it didn’t cost the client a cent and was the right thing to do. A lot of people talk about quality, but you’ve got to be able to back up what you talk and that’s something we do.”

Barney’s philosophy is simple: “I don’t want phone calls in two years’ time when something goes wrong. I want to get it right first time.”

Projects done right

A project Barney is exceptionally proud of is a large day-care centre the team built in Mangere Bridge.

“The client had a number of day-cares and bought the land in a liquidation sale. The plans and building consent were already issued and completed when we won the tender – which was a very competitive bid – but the plans lacked a lot of detail.”

A lot was needed to clarify the plans and Barney had to work closely with the various contractors on site, with whom he quickly gained their trust. “The owners were busy people and didn’t want to be bogged down with us calling every five minutes to clarify details. We just got in there early, sorted the documentation and delivered them a high-quality project.

“They’d had other day-cares built and really noticed the difference in the quality with our one. We have since built another three houses at the back of the day-care centre,” Barney says.

Franchising for the future

Barney’s team is one of seven Sentinel franchises. In the last two years they have completed over 12 builds and the future is looking bright. They’re opening a new show home in Papakura in December.

“With the change in the Auckland council’s unitary plan, there’s a lot more enquiry from people wanting to subdivide their own larger sections or build a secondary dwelling on the back. A lot of our enquiries are coming from that and it’s keeping us super busy.”

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